Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Program note written by Jacob Farmer
Approximate Performance Time:
Intermediate Advanced – appropriate for advanced high school students and college undergraduates
“Georg Philipp Telemann.” Naxos. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2016. <http://www.naxos.com/person/Georg_Philipp_Telemann/23879.htm>.
Portela Da Silva, Antônio Carlos. “A Performance Guide to Three of Telemann’s 12 Fantasias for Flute Without Bass, Based On the Study of the Compound Melodies.” The University of Alabama (2012): n. pag. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.
Georg Philipp Telemann was a prolific German composer born in Magdeburg in 1681. He was enrolled at the University of Leipzig in 1701 originally as a law and language student per his mother’s insistence. While his studies were not in music, his natural talent made the transition inevitable. He founded the University Collegium Musicum, from which Johann Sebastian Bach later directed concerts. After bickering with the Thomaskantor, the director of the Neue Kirche, Kuhnau, he left Leipzig and accepted the position of Kapellmeister to the cosmopolitan court of Count Erdmann II of Promnitz, however the invasion of the Swedes forced him out to Paris. His numerous overtures and suites are accompanied by nearly fifty concertos for solo instruments – violin, double violin, French horn, trumpet, and recorder – and were compiled as Tafelmusik or Musique de Table of 1733. Telemann’s godson, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, took his place in the Hamburg Opera council upon his death in 1767. Over Telemann’s life, he has provided a multitude of compositions for solo instruments, including a set of a dozen Fantasias for flute.
In Telemann’s 12 Fantasias for Solo Flute, No. 2, we identify the typical four movement structure of slow, fast, slow, fast. The piece begins with a slow prelude with a regal and grandiose atmosphere. The second movement’s form is considered a double fugue and with his creative style of writing, the flute part contains two voices. One can clearly hear the double fugue of the syncopated melody against the lower chromatic passing tone line. The third movement is titled Adagio and is the only fully ornamented movement in all of his Fantasias, utilizing different rhythmic devices and unprepared suspensions. Telemann ends this piece the dancelike movement Allegro which is in a bourée rounded binary form. This movement features the bourée characteristics with a duple meter, pickup notes for each phrase, and long – short – short rhythmic figurations.